SA-founded international esports team Bravado Gaming to relocate CS2 team to Europe

SA-founded international esports team Bravado Gaming to relocate CS2 team to Europe
Bravado Gaming to relocate CS2 team to Europe

Local esports team Bravado Gaming is relocating its Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) team to Belgrade, Serbia from mid-2024 until mid-2026. The objective of the move is for the team to practise in optimal conditions and to pit themselves against the world’s best CS2 competitors, while also competing in the largest CS2 leagues and tournaments in the world.

The temporary move sees the Bravado Gaming team following in the footsteps of South African sporting stars like UFC Middleweight World Champion Dricus du Plessis, MotoGP star Brad Binder – and even Grammy-winning Popiano Queen, Tyla. Already leaders in their respective sectors in South Africa, each achieved global recognition by putting in the hard yards in tougher industries with deeper talent pools and being able to access better resources – with their obvious talent helping them rise to the top in a far more competitive field.

Bravado Gaming previously experienced great success after a training camp in North America for a year from 2018 – first in Phoenix, Arizona and then Austin, Texas – known as ‘Project Destiny’. The camp in Belgrade has been christened ‘Project Destiny 2.0’.

Of the original six members of Project Destiny, three – Johnny ‘JT’ Theodosiou; Aran ‘Sonic’ Groesbeek and Tiaan ‘T.C.’ Coetzee – continued to see success in international competition, moving on to storied North American esports organisation Cloud 9 as part of their CS:GO development programme in late 2020. Theodosiou and Coetzee remain abroad as they now compete under the Top-10 Complexity banner, with recent highlights including a 2nd place at IEM Sydney 2023 and 3rd at the BLAST Premier Fall Finals 2023.

The benefits of playing out of more developed regions is clear, according to Andreas Hadjipaschali, co-founder of Bravado Gaming: “To be the best, you have to play the best. The European scene will allow us to face a far more skilled and diverse pool of teams, amplifying our rate of growth tremendously and I really believe that they’re going to turn heads. Whilst we may not have seen success recently in the Middle East as part of the PGL Major 2024 closed qualifiers, we are absolutely certain that given time alongside the plentiful support and resources that we know we can provide, along with the incredible support by our sponsors Alienware, Dell Technologies and Intel, our CS team will be able to produce results that the entire African region can be proud of,” he says.

The results of Project Destiny included a peak HLTV world ranking of #21; qualification for the Katowice Americas Minor Championship 2019; victory at the Dreamhack Invitational Mumbai 2018 and a 2nd place at Dreamhack Winter Jönköping 2018, beating out Optic and G2 in the offline finals to get there.

Bravado Gaming co-founder Dimitri Hadjipaschali says that the better inherent latency of networks in Europe will remove a major disadvantage to the team’s training. “We [in South Africa] are stuck in a bubble because of latency. You have to be with the teams you want to beat in order to hope to be better than them,” he says.

The team’s roster for Project Destiny 2.0 is one of the strongest that Africa has ever been able to produce, including Wiljhane ‘Wilj’ Smith (20); Marchahn ‘March’ Smith (22); team captain Johnathan ‘Doru’ Fox (23) and Kian ‘Triton’ Gibson (21), coached by 29 year-old Daniel ‘LaBishop’ Hufton.

“We are all massive fans of Counter Strike. It’s our bread and butter, our heart and soul and the majority of management has competed in CS for years themselves,” says Andreas.

“The objectives of Project Destiny 2.0 include reaching and maintaining a top 30 HLTV rating; qualifying for a major tournament; consistent content development and distribution and sharing their ‘zero to hero’ story. “I kind of see this as a one-shot opportunity to follow my passion for Counter-Strike,” says team captain Fox. “Alongside this group of guys, my teammates, who I can genuinely say are some of my nearest and dearest friends, it’s an absolute no-brainer for all of us to capitalise on this amazing opportunity.”